Solar lighting performance in winter conditions
With shorter days and harsher weather conditions, winter has finally arrived. During this season, the efficiency of solar street lighting is of paramount importance to ensure optimal illumination of urban spaces while achieving considerable energy savings.
It is therefore pertinent to question the ability of this solution to align with the objective of promoting environmentally-friendly smart cities, while guaranteeing adequate and efficient performance in cold weather, and eliminating energy costs.
I. The requirements of solar lighting in winter: the expertise of the Design Office
Each project undergoes an in-depth technical analysis by our engineering department, with the aim of guaranteeing the optimum performance of our street lamps worldwide. At the end of this phase, an exhaustive report is submitted to analyze the project's purpose, estimate the number of streetlights required and study all associated technical aspects.
Each project is therefore tailored to its specific needs and environment. Whether in low-temperature or harsh climates such as Canada, our solar street lamps remain identical to those installed in conventional areas. Fonroche technology makes them adaptable to all environmental and climatic contexts, and this is one of their key features: they are not designed exclusively for cold zones, but to withstand all types of climate.
The only difference lies in the inclination of the photovoltaic panel, which for technical reasons will have a reinforced 45-degree inclination to prevent snow accumulation on the panel.
Climatic factors therefore have no influence on the efficiency and operation of our street lamps, which are designed to adapt to all environments and climates.
II. R&D essential to the resilience and efficiency of solar streetlights
Extensive testing is essential to ensure the reliability of our solar street lights in a wide range of climatic conditions. Hot-cold climatic chambers are an essential part of streetlight testing. Engineers control the test environment, including tests at temperatures as low as -30°C, to optimally adapt the batteries to winter conditions and extremely cold environments.
Climatic tests and trials simulate various real-life situations to assess battery behavior at each temperature level. Ageing tests are also conducted to observe how batteries evolve over time, subjected to variable conditions such as humidity, drought or fog, with the aim of verifying their longevity. The main aim of these meticulous assessments is to ensure optimal, high-performance operation irrespective of thermal conditions. To this end, the electronic board integrated in the battery regulates the systems, adjusting the power emitted by the lantern according to the level of sunlight received during the day. The solar streetlight is therefore completely autonomous and intelligent, guaranteeing 365 nights of lighting a year.
What's more, solar streetlights are able to adapt to winter nights by using data collected the previous night. Every evening, an energy balance is drawn up, enabling continuous adaptation to daytime and night-time conditions.
III. Feedback: Fonroche streetlights in Evolène (Switzerland)
A rather unusual location, since our solar-powered public street lamps have been installed on a cross-country ski run in the Swiss resort of Evolène. A bold and unusual choice, these installations help to preserve the environment and heritage, as well as enabling cross-country skiing even in the middle of the night.
This rather extreme environment, with its periods of extreme cold and low levels of sunlight, does not prevent the solar street lighting from working properly. On the contrary, it adapts perfectly to the conditions.
For more information on this project, please visit the following page: Solar street lighting Evolène, Switzerland